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2021 NBA Game 1's: Reading From Our Season Opener Playbook

The Plays: Pistons +5.5, Celtics +1.5, Pelicans +4 & Nuggets +6


The second day of NBA 2021-22 action features an 11-game NBA docket, and our first-game playbook identifies four dogs worthy of consideration. We are backing the Pistons, Celtics, Pelicans and Nuggets to beat the number Wednesday; two home pooches and two road teams taking points.


Our power rankings composite, which is based on the FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Basketball Power Index frameworks, and adjusted for home court per Jimmy Boyd's True Home Court Edge methodology (using data back to 2005-06), endorses each of today's pick.


Additionally, we observe compelling historical precedent that likewise validates today's favored ATS wagers.


Fundamentally, we make Chicago on the road about a longball better than Detroit in these team's opener, as is the case for Philly at New Orleans. Further, we see Boston as no worse than a point behind their hosts, the New York Knicks, and we give Phoenix a five-point edge versus visiting Denver. Thus we perceive value with each of our indicated plays.


Additionally though, we have observed that backing underdogs that covered less than 50% of last season's contests has been good for a 17% long-term return on investment in regular season game 1's.



This simple system, which has suffered ATS win rates below 50% in only three seasons since 2005-06, forecasts covers for the Pelicans, Celtics and Nuggets Wednesday, three of our four ATS bets.


(The Thunder, Pacers, Rockets, Cavaliers, Kings and Magic also meet this angle's criteria today, however our fundamental framework does not validate this set, so we are passing).


In the case of the Bulls at Pistons, a slightly different game 1 system likewise offers robust support for the home cover.


Fading road teams that were profitable against the spread a year ago in their first game of the new season has delivered a 31% return on investment since 2005-06, with only two seasons with a cover rate below 50%.



In addition to endorsing Detroit for the home cover, this system also offers supplemental validation for New Orleans to beat the number.


(A play on Toronto was also triggered by this system, but we are disinclined to oblige, as our power rankings composite is mixed on Wizards at Raptors).


Happy betting!!